Sociology – Groups and Social Organization

Social Group
Two or more people who identify with and interact with one another
Primary Group
A small social group whose members share personal and lasting relationships
Secondary Group
A large and impersonal social group whose members pursue a specific goal or activity
Instrumental Leadership
Group leadership that focuses on the completion of tasks. Members look to instrumental leaders to make plans, give orders, and get things done.
Expressive Leadership
Group leadership that focuses on the group’s well-being. Expressive leaders take less interest in achieving goal’s than in raising group morale and minimizing tension and conflict among members.
Authoritarian leadership
Is a “take charge” style that demands obedience; Democratic leadership includes everyone in decision making; Laissez-faire leadership lets the group function mostly on its own.
Group conformity
The Asch, Milgram, and Janis research shows that group members often seek agreement an may pressure one another toward conformity.

Individuals use reference groups – including in-groups and out-groups to form attitudes and make evaluations.

The tendency of group members to conform, resulting in a narrow view of some issue.
Reference Group
A social group that serves as a point of reference in making evaluations and decisions.
Is a social group toward which a member feels respect and loyalty. An in-group exists in relation to an out-group.
A social group toward which a person feels a sense of competition or opposition. Many social groups follow this pattern.
Group size and diversity
Georg Simmel described the dyad as the intense and unstable; the triad, he said, is more stable but can dissolve into a dyad by excluding one member.

Peter Blau claimed that larger groups turn inward, socially diverse groups turn outward, and physically segregated groups turn inward.

A social group with two members.
A social group with three members.
Are relational webs that link people with little common identity and limited interaction. Being “well connected” in networks is a valuable type of social capital.
Formal Organizations
Are large secondary groups organized to achieve their goals efficiently.
Utilitarian Organizations
Pay people for their efforts (examples include a business or government agency)
Normative Organizations
Have goals people consider worthwhile (examples include voluntary associations such as the PTA)
Coercive Organizations
Are organizations people are forced to join (examples includes prisons and mental hospitals)
Organizational Environment
All formal organizations operate in an organizational environment which is influenced by technology/ political and economic trends/ current events/ population patterns/ other organizations.

Factors outside an organization that affect its operation.

An organizational model rationally designed to perform tasks efficiently.

Which Max Weber saw as the dominant type of organization in modern societies, is based on specialization/hierarchy of positions/ rules and regulations/ technical competence/ impersonality/ formal, written communications

Problems of bureaucracy
Include bureaucratic alienation/ bureaucratic inefficiency and ritualism (a focus on rules and regulations to the point of undermining an organization’s goals) / bureaucratic inertia (the tendency of bureacratic organizations to perpertuate themselves) / oligarchy (the rule of the many by the few)
Scientific Management
Frederick Taylor’s term for the application of scientific principles to the operation of a business or other large organization
Conventional Bureaucracy
In the early 1900’s, Frederick Taylor’s scientific management applied scientific principles to increase productivity.
The Changing Nature of Work
Recently, the rise of a post-industrial economy has created two very different types of work:

Highly skilled and creative work (examples include designers, consultants, programmers, and executives)

Low-skilled service work associated with the “McDonaldization” of society, based on efficiency, uniformity, and control (examples include jobs in fast-food restaurants and telemarketing)